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Six Tips for Caregivers of Adults Living with MS

The importance of caregivers for people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

As a caregiver, you play a pivotal role in supporting a person with multiple sclerosis (MS) throughout their journey. You do so much to help them both physically and emotionally, providing much needed companionship. While you are taking care of your loved one, it is important to still prioritize your own self-care. This will help you in your caregiving role and to manage your personal wellbeing.

The challenges and responsibilities that come with being a caregiver are immense, ranging from healthcare management to adapting to your loved one’s complicated MS symptoms. Throughout everything, remember to take care of yourself, too.

The Importance of Caregivers

Caregivers like you provide two different kinds of support: emotional and physical.

Emotional Support

Loved ones with MS may have a lot of mental challenges to face post-diagnosis. As they work to navigate these new roadblocks, having someone to lean on can improve their emotional wellbeing. When you are able, you actively listen to their concerns, encourage them to participate in activities, and provide compassion, empathy, and validation when the need arises. Combined, these gestures can help your loved one feel less alone.

emotional support MS
physical assistance ms

Physical assistance and advocacy

As a caregiver, your role in assisting loved ones with MS extends beyond emotional support; you’re also crucial in managing their day-to-day physical needs. This includes ensuring they get adequate sleep, preparing nutritious meals for the household, and encouraging outdoor walks to enhance mobility. Additionally, you may need to assist them with tasks such as getting in and out of bed due to physical challenges. Making modifications to their living space, verifying that social venues are accessible to your loved one, or helping them to find walking assistance tools such as canes, walkers, or wheelchairs will also help ensure their safety and prevent falls.

It’s important to acknowledge that these responsibilities can be physically and emotionally taxing for you. Remember to prioritize your own wellbeing and seek support when needed.

caregiver ms quote

The emotions come and go, and being good to yourself is really hard to do because there’s a lot of hard stuff there in this disease.”

This individual is not a PoNS Therapy® patient nor affiliated with Helius Medical.

This caregiver is right. There is a lot of “hard stuff” involved in taking care of a loved one with MS. But that doesn’t make your own wellbeing any less important. Read on for some tips we hope will help you and your loved one. 

Six Tips for Caregivers

MS Caregiver support
  1. Seek early support for the caregiving role
  • Being a successful caregiver requires
    • Flexibility
    • Patience
    • Awareness of easily misdiagnosed symptoms
  • Reach out to caregivers in the MS community for advice
  • Access these Resources for new caregivers
MS Healthcare Providers
  1. Connect with knowledgeable health and medical providers
  • People living with MS will benefit from having a healthcare team consisting of a
    • Primary care doctor
    • Neurologist
    • Nurse
  • Ensure you have their contact information in case of questions or an emergency
  • Explore new treatment options, lifestyle changes, and research options
  • Sometimes, it could also help to be in touch with other professionals, such as:
    • A social worker
    • A physical therapist
    • An occupational therapist
    • A registered dietitian
MS Symptoms
  1. Understand what MS is, especially the symptoms and its stages
  • Research the different types of MS, typical symptoms, and how best to support a loved one post-diagnosis
  • Use the National MS Society “What Is MS” article as a starting point.
  • Familiarize yourself with the different kinds of treatment
MS legal planning
  1. Ensure that medical, legal, and estate planning preferences are up to date
MS Resources
  1. Find local resources and services
  • Your community or state should have resources available for MS caregivers
  • Check out the Family Caregiver Alliance® for a caregiver toolbox and more tips
  1. Prioritize self-care
  • Among all of your hard work and caregiving responsibilities, don’t forget about yourself
  • Set aside time for your own health and wellness
  • Don’t forget to:
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Get enough sleep
    • Practice mindfulness
Remember, throughout both the good times and the bad, you are not alone.

We know how much you care about your loved ones and applaud the support you give them. Please keep in mind how important it is for you to also take time for your own needs.

We hope you utilize the resources included above and share this blog with someone else you know who may benefit from this information.

PoNS®, PoNS Therapy®, and Helius Medical are not affiliated with any individual whose quotes appear in this blog.

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